Giving Compass' Take:

• Bijal Brahmbhatt explains the difficulties that arise when the areas around tribal land undergo urbanization and how they can be alleviated.

• How can funders help to support responsible, inclusive development around tribal land? 

• Learn about the malnutrition problems that urbanization can bring

When cities start expanding, or rural areas start urbanizing, infrastructure needs to be developed—roads need to be built, transportation systems need to be put in place, and sewage lines and drinking water pipes have to be laid.

But what happens when the towns and cities begin to expand into adjacent lands, and those lands belong to tribal communities?

In Jharkhand, there are two acts—the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy Act, and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act—which protect tribal peoples’ right to their land, and hence prohibit sale of their land to non-tribal populations.

However, over the years, there have been amendments to these acts that have weakened the position of tribal people in rural areas, and haven’t helped those in urban areas either. At present, there are 64,000 litigations pending in the high court of Jharkhand, filed by tribal communities against these amendments.

Ideally, a city’s development plan should consider the needs of the residents—in terms of roads, transport, public spaces, and commercial and residential zones. Therefore, for a city’s municipal corporation, the ability to access land in the right places is critical.

Ownership and access to land and forests has been critical to the tribal peoples’ way of life as well, given the symbiotic relationship they share with jal, jungle, aur jaanvar(water, forests, and animals).

Read the full article about urbanization around tribal land by Bijal Brahmbhatt at India Development Review.